Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman said on Wednesday that any alleged quid pro quo between the Trump campaign and Russia's election meddling would lie in the Trump administration dropping U.S. sanctions against Russia. 

"What we're dealing with here is a conspiracy to break into the Democratic National Committee, steal emails, and use those emails to help Trump get elected, and the quid pro quo for that was the dropping of sanctions," Ackerman told MSNBC's Chris Hayes. 

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"What was left out of this whole narrative was the one end with Michael Flynn, who was dealing with the Russian ambassador over sanctions, and the whole notion that the Trump administration was going to get rid of all of the sanctions after he took office," he continued. 

NBC News reported on Wednesday that special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigators have inquired about whether President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, or if Trump was involved in the emails’ release.

Russians were able to successfully hack into Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email account in the spring of 2016 before WikiLeaks released stolen emails from the DNC as well as emails from Podesta himself in the months leading up to the 2016 election.

Amid the leaks, Trump said "I love WikiLeaks" at a campaign rally. 

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said on the campaign trail. 

The White House said the comments were made in jest. 

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, referring to the probe as "a witch hunt."